Have you ever experienced the feeling where you just know you’ll like something, even before you try it? Like, you know it so positively that you’d be willing to bet anything on it?
That was how I felt about za’atar.
Za’atar can be found at any natural foods or gourmet grocery store in the states, and is a lovely Mediterranean blend of sesame seeds, sumac, salt, and a bevy of dried herbs- usually Thyme, Marjoram, and Oregano. I’ve heard so much about this spice blend in the last few years. Along with ramps and rhubarb, za’atar is a darling in the eyes of a food lover.
I’m dreaming of the day I can finally grill a whole fresh fresh fish when I am back in the States, in my non-existant grill I own, in the large suburban backyard that I don’t have. In my dream kitchen, I will drizzle the grilled fish with a generous amount of olive oil and a heaping dose of za’atar before perfectly blackening it on my grill. Until then, to fulfill these fantasies, I
smuggled brought back a small packet of za’atar with me to China. I bought it without ever tasting it, but completely knowing what to do with it and knowing that I would love it.
So far it hasn’t disappointed me. It has made its way into a lot of my dishes these days- chicken drumsticks, omelets, even tofu. No fish though- I still don’t really trust the fish here.
Za’atar is also very fun to say, and difficult to keep typing correctly. Za’atar. Za’atar. Za’atar!!!
My favorite has been this combination of asparagus (chives) and za’atar. Which after a quick roast in the oven, subsequently get placed in a mean, green, summery salad. Yum.
You really should try it, too. I think you’d love it.
Roasted Asparagus with Za’atar
- Trim or shave the base of the asparagus. Line baking sheet with foil or nonstick mat. Sprinkle a generous amount (1-2 tsp.) of za’atar over asparagus and add a generous amount of olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Roast at 350F for 15-20 minutes, or until asparagus are slightly darker and wilted.
- Serve as a side dish, or on top of a salad (with lots of feta cheese and mint!!)